Dear Google: Please stop designing horrible icons
Would you please consider against slapping generic icons inside squares and circles?
For those of you reading this article and wondering why have, I decided to write a long, long rant should look at the definition Google provides for “Round icons” and “Adaptive icons.” And then, of course, look at the implementation.
Around the release of Android 7.1, Google announced a small but noticeable change to the User Interface, especially, the icons — “Round” icons. Google stated that the introduction was necessary, as consistency is key when it comes to User Interfaces. The keyword “consistency” was heavily emphasized upon.
Back when Google announced “Round icons,” the community expected a wave of icons being re-iterated into circular forms while preserving the original icon. People expected the icons to shape-shift circularly, and had the shape-shift been implemented successfully, it would’ve been a hit and I would’ve been ranting on about the absence of the Home Button on the iPhone X instead.
When Round icons did come out, the results were disappointing. Instead of getting uniform icons that fit with the circular mask, we got this:
The icons displayed above are individual pizzas for icons. Pizzas we don’t like. Dammit, Google.
Consistency makes for a confusing problem
While the icons look decent, the fact that it is a lazy “put a plate behind the icon and done” type of job makes it all sounds like a joke. This is Google we’re talking about, not someone who just learned how to use Photoshop’s Layers editing.
While the concept works for “consistency” reason Google is pulling, that still doesn’t forgive the fact that it is simply lazy coming out from Google. It is almost as if Google just decided to strip “consistency” from all its beauty and just did the 5 minutes shortcut of putting everything on top of a white plate.
But the disappointment doesn’t stop there my friend. Oh no, of course not.
That was just part of the story. Remember, Google introduced yet another of variation of this feature: Adaptive Icons.
With Adaptive Icons, the icon is expected to do a more challenging task: mold itself to fit various masks that the launcher throws. This means there’d be a possibility of the icon being cut or cropped which is a nightmare to some.
Okay, so how does Google handle Adaptive Icons themselves? Surely they have learned that the icons they did before were god-awful.
Here’s where things are actually disappointing and lazy at the same time. The icon pictured above is that of Google’s own video chat app, Duo. If the pizza-like shape of the Google Play Store icon looks awful then this one is just worse.
Adaptive? Not so. This isn’t just laziness, but an insult to the term “adaptive” itself. If you were to imagine for one second what “adaptive” meant you can understand my frustration here.
The icons didn’t adapt to the mask, they’re literally just glued there like a lazy arts project of a depressed student. The icon isn’t adaptive, so please stop calling it one, Google.
It seems apparent to me that Google just simply have lost any kind of motivation in following their own design guideline.
Where did the designers go?
To be fair with Google, they aren’t all horrible either. As an example, these are some round icons they’ve made for three of their apps:
They don’t look like pizza on a plate, neither do they look like lazy abominations. They look clean, bold, and professional. Google can design icons if Google themselves tried.
I won’t be holding my breath and wait until Google addresses the issue. At least not in the near future. But hey, there’s nothing wrong in hoping to the void.
Originally published at thecyberfibre.com on September 14, 2017.